It seems some songwriters have forgotten their craft. But will this app improve your skills? The evidence might surprise you
EarProg is the latest app that trains users to recognise chord progressions. According to the app’s developer, Leverkuhn Apps, EarProg will improve a musician’s songwriting, improvisation and performance ability. But is this kind of app necessary for becoming a great songwriter, or is it all a gimmick?
Before the invention of the internet, many guitarists had to learn to play by ear. This involved spending time next to a record player, guitar in hand, while trying to work out a song’s chord progression. We know John Lennon did this and he is still a celebrated songwriter today. However, with the internet came tablature websites; vast libraries of notation can now be accessed instantly, removing the need to learn songs by ear.
However, the advantages of being able to identify chord progressions is clear. It means musicians can enter a room and start playing along with a song they didn’t previously know how to play. This ability also allows songwriters to translate ideas from head to page more effectively.
In the mid-20th century, the Japanese musician Shinichi Suzuki developed the Suzuki method. The method aims to teach children instruments from a young age. Suzuki saw how quickly children were able to learn their native language. So, he created a learning environment for music that was like learning linguistics, which involves listening and repeating. It’s an idea that has been modernised in the form of an app. And it’s proving popular with beginners and professionals alike.
EarProg is the latest ear training app on the market. It features over 60 chord progressions, split into three sections: Standard, Four Chords, and Minor. The app is available on iPhone or iPad and is priced at £0.99.